Bacon Stuffed Deviled Eggs

  You know it’s funny… Not too many years ago I can remember going to a party and saying to my husband…”Ugh, who brings deviled eggs to a party?! I mean, they just look so bland… And watery… And EW!!”
Ha! Then I became a farmer… Hens lay eggs man. And we have to figure out ways to use them up! 

Don’t get me wrong, I REALLY appreciate the summer abundance of eggs. Over the winter my hens barely produce at all. They hate the cold and I’m happily surprised when I find an egg or two each week. 

But summer time… I can’t give away enough! 

Anyway, my prejudice against deviled eggs quickly went away when I started experimenting with different recipes to use all our eggs and when I came up with this one!!

These days people put just about anything in a deviled egg. I’ve seen guacamole deviled eggs, buffalo chicken deviled eggs, even curry chicken deviled eggs !! I can’t lie…. Those all sound pretty delicious but when I think eggs… My next thought is ALWAYS bacon!! 

This is totally one of those keep it simple stupid type of recipes. 4 ingredients, boom done!!! However, as simple as they are, they are flavor packed!!! They have become a family favorite! You can’t eat just one… These deviled eggs totally win the Pringles award- once you pop the fun don’t stop!! 

Yeah… I just said that.

Anyway, start with your hard boiled eggs. Cut them in half and plop all their beautiful yellow yolks into a mixing bowl. 

 
Slice up 1/2 a lb of bacon. I find this is easier if you put the bacon in the freezer for a half an hour or so first… Makes for easy slicing! 

 Fry it up!!!! Make it all crispy and AMAZING! 

Move the bacon bits to a paper towel covered plate. 

Don’t forget to save all that glorious bacon fat!!! (That post will come on  another day) 

 Now things get even yummier!

Mix the yolks with 1 HEAPING tbsp of Dijon mustard, 2 HEAPING tbsp’s of mayonnaise and a pinch of black pepper. 

 then…. Add the bacon!! 

 Put all that super tasty filling into a piping bag or large zip lock bag.  

 Pipe the filling back into those eggs and garnish with a little paprika for added color! 

   A-Mazing!!!!!
Give these a try…Betcha can’t eat just one!!!

Bacon Stuffed Deviled Eggs|

30 minutes, serves 8, 2 per person

  • 8 eggs, hard boiled and peeled 
  • 2 heaping tbsp’s mayonnaise 
  • 1 heaping tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 lb bacon, chopped and fried into bacon bits
  • Black pepper and paprika to taste 

Cut hard boiled eggs in half. Remove yolks and mix with remaining ingredients till smooth. 

Place the filling into a piping bag and fill the eggs. Garnish with a pinch of paprika for color. 

Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Enjoy!!

The Best Way to Peel an Egg

  
Isn’t it annoying when you go to peel a hard boiled egg for a Cobb salad or deviled eggs and half of the white sticks to the shell? Then you have ugly eggs. No one wants to serve ugly eggs! 

I’ve tried so many different methods to prevent this from happening- The muffin tin method, the needle poking method (don’t bother with this one…just don’t) But then finally!! And rather recently, I figured it out! The ice bath method! It’s worked perfectly every time-winning!!!! No more ugly eggs!

It’s important to bring your eggs to temperature along with your water.  

 Photo credit about.com

Start them off all by their onesies in an empty pot.

Fill the pot with just enough water to cover the eggs completely. 

Once the water begins to boil turn your burner down to medium and allow the water to simmer. You don’t want a rolling boil. 

Set your timer immediately for 13 minutes!

Watch it! If at 11 minutes one egg begins to crack. They’re done. 

Using a strainer or slotted spoon take your eggs out one by one and place directly into an ice bath. 

 Photo credit saucy-spatula.com

Allow the eggs to cool for 5 minutes or so. 

Tap tap tap!!! Crack those eggs all over and prepare yourself for the easiest peel ever! 

The shell will come off in big pieces, easy peasy!  

   
The yolks will be perfectly yellow too! No yucky gray ring hiding their beautiful color… 

 
And there you have it! Beautiful hard boiled eggs. No muss no fuss. My hens would be proud to see their eggs all unscathed and camera ready! 

They love getting their shells back too! If you have chickens on your homestead, feed your hens their egg shells. It might sound weird but it’s really not. The calcium is sooooo good for them and will increase egg production. Yay!! More hard boiled eggs!

Loaded Cheeseburger Dip

  
Super Bowl 50 today!! Although I’m still broken up about the outcome of the AFC Championship. We were born and raised in New England after all. 

So while I can’t really cheer on my team, I CAN indulge in all the glorious football food! 

My contribution today will be this yummy creation! 

Loaded Cheeseburger Dip!

This stuff truly tastes like an ooey gooey cheeseburger! You get the tangy bite of mustard and relish and the creamy goodness of the melty cheese and tender beef. Onions give it a little crunch and BOOM! Cheeseburger on a chip.

It’s super easy to put together…

Mince up a sweet onion and saute in a little olive oil for a minute or two. 

 Then add your ground beef (in this case I used venison) and cook until no longer pink before adding steak sauce, ketchup, relish, mustard, salt and pepper.  

 Stir it all together and then add some cheese…You know what cheese I’m talking about… That lovely melty cheese product that you just can’t really duplicate with any other kind of cheese…

Everyone loves bacon! So add some of that too.

  Stir until completely melted…  

  
Pour the dip into a small baking dish and top with grated cheddar cheese, bacon crumbles and a bit of chopped parsley for freshness and a pop of color! 

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes (if you choose to bake it right away) OR if you make it ahead of time bake it for 30-35 minutes. 

Then- garnish again!!! Mmm mmm mmmmmmmm!!!   

 
  
Loaded Cheeseburger Dip|

45 minutes, serves 10

  • 1 lb ground beef 
  • 1/2 a sweet onion, minced 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp steak sauce (can sub Worcestershire sauce)
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 1/4 c plain marinara (optional)
  • 1/2 c relish 
  • 1/2 lb american cheese or cheese product
  • 1/4 c grated cheddar
  • 1/4 c bacon crumbles
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Preheat oven to 350. 

Saute the onions in your olive oil. Add your ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Add your sauces and stir to combine. Add a little bacon, your cheese (not the grated cheddar yet!) and stir till melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste (just a pinch!)

Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle with half of your grated cheddar, parsley and bacon on top. Bake for 10 minutes and then garnish again! 

Yum!

Mind Your P’s & Q’s

 Pigs and common Questions about raising them|

Believe it or not a couple years back when we first began our homesteading adventures, I would have never dreamt of raising pigs for meat. 

I was scared of their smell. I was scared of slaughtering them. And for whatever reason that scene from Animal Farm always really stuck with me. 

 
Photo credit deviantart.com

As time went on I became pretty decent in the garden. I learned to can a large portion of our harvest and my hens were laying a couple dozen each week. I realized it was time to expand my horizons, and so the discussion began between James and I. What would be a realistic next step? 

Our dreams of raising a dairy cow or two just seemed too large of an undertaking at the time.

James is a hunter and I admit, having a freezer full of venison for the winter, along with our fresh and canned vegetables made for a rewarding season. It seemed that raising our own meat would be the next step toward true homesteading and self sustainability. 

I read and read, and read some more… I mean, I really did my homework people! I had so many questions but when push came to shove we just lept in… Figured it out- and now I can’t imagine a spring that I won’t be raising pigs. 

I can honestly say that it was one the the most rewarding experiences of my life from start to finish. It was emotional at times, but I learned that it should be. Quality of life for any animal is what makes the difference. Whether they be a household pet, or livestock that you raise to feed your family- providing a happy and healthy life will produce a wonderful product, and give you peace of mind and heart. 

Saying goodbye in sacrifice or illness is inevitable on the homestead, and  will always really hit you in the feels. 

But let’s get back to the rewarding part shall we??

I can remember writing down question after question about raising the pigs before we picked them up for the first time. I was a little embarrassed to even ask fellow farmers because I felt like I should already know the answers. WRONG!

You never know everything there is know until you experience it first hand and even then, nature will probably throw a curve ball at you. It’s just natures way. 

So if you’re considering raising pigs to feed your family or sell for profit on your small farm, I’ve compiled a list of commonly asked questions before you get started.

Q: how much space do you need to raise pigs?

A: our entire homestead sits on just three acres and the pigs barely seemed to take up any room at all. Our pigs had a simple 8×4 shelter, equipped with hay for bedding to keep warm, and a 30×60 double fence. I call it a double fence because it really is. The inner fence being an electric fence that is solar powered.  Pigs can be escape artists so it was important to us to run the electric fence first. Two feet around the perimeter of the electric fence, my husband and I built a wooden fence for extra stability and to keep our free range children, chickens and dogs from any shocking encounters.   

  
We only had four pigs this past year and this was more than enough room for them. They will dig up the earth and eat all of the grass and roots. Make sure they have a pasture like this to root up and keep busy.  

 
Q: can you only raise 1 or 2 pigs?

A: two is better. There is a sense of safety in numbers plus having a cuddle buddy will help them to stay warm at night. They love to lay on one another and one little baby alone would be sad to say the least. 

 
Whether they are approaching slaughter weight or still young, they WILL fight over food a bit, however in my experience- if you give them plenty they learn to figure it out on their own.  

 
Q: what is the cost of a piglet?

A: it will vary depending on your location but I would bet $100.00 to $150.00 for a wormed,  35lb piglet is pretty accurate. 

Q: how old will the pig be before it is fully grown and ready for slaughter?

A: pigs are ready for slaughter once they reach the 250 lb  to 275 lb mark. There are different measuring techniques out there for you to research but for us… Our 35 lb babies from April were fully grown and ready by October 25th-November 1st.

Q: what vaccinations will they need?

A: they should come to you wormed and at least have been given an iron shot. It’s important not to introduce too much into their system as it will change the quality of the meat. Pigs are not immune to infections such as pneumonia. If you notice your pig is not interested in their food or seems sleepy and withdrawn they may be sick. In most cases penicillin can be administered to help. Call a veterinarian or a fellow homesteader at first suspicion of illness. 
Q: what should we feed our pigs and how much per day?

A: pigs need a constant supply of water. Make sure you have a system in place that is easy to access so you aren’t hauling buckets of water to them all day, everyday. Pigs love to roll around in water and mud to keep cool and protect from bugs and pests, so havering a watering system is key!!

We fed our pigs all natural pig and sow grain. This will range anywhere from $10.00-$15.00 per 50 lb bag. Go for the good stuff. You are what you eat as they say!

Pigs will eat around 6-8 lbs of grain per day. I got into the habit of splitting it up into two feelings per day. Morning and night. I was also fortunate enough to supplement with old fruit and vegetable scraps from my local grocer. I highly recommend researching your options for this as well. Your pigs will love you! 

 
Speaking of love…

Q: how can I avoid becoming attached to my pigs?

A: you can’t….

These guys and girls will steal your heart.  

   
Try not to name them, that’s my best advice. Give them a good life and take heart, not every pig is so lucky. 

All in all these animals are a delight to raise and they provide a surprising  amount of meat. One 250 lb pig gave us 170 lbs of lovely organic pork for our family. It is well worth the effort…. And the feels.